Why your credit union needs “one-plug” systems integration

You’re out shopping for kitchen appliances for your new house. After scanning the aisles, you see a toaster that’s looks like the perfect fit—until you take a closer look at the box and see that it supports plugs for 20 different electrical cords.

With each of those cords adding to the cost of the toaster, the price tag is astronomical. Why would you want to pay extra for a toaster that has 19 more cords than you need? (Supporting all those connections would also be highly cumbersome for the manufacturer as well.)

I’ll pick another toaster, you say. But there aren’t any one-plug toasters on the shelves.

Amazingly, this is how systems integration works at most credit unions. When a credit union adds a new application, it has to be integrated with their core systems, the ‘data outlets’ that power their technological infrastructure. But if they don’t use a single integration standard—and most credit unions don’t—they’re forced to build a dedicated often custom integration to connect each application with their core provider.

Put another way, imagine a world where manufacturers are required to build every toaster with support for 20 unique plugs.

This is the reality in the industry today, and it has made application integration into a major burden—exorbitant costs, hours of wasted labor and the stress of managing several dozen custom integrations are common for today’s credit unions. Not to mention speed to market capabilities are almost non-existent.  All of which are huge barriers to success in today’s financial services market place.

It doesn’t have to be this way, though. By uniting your cores and your applications around a single, simple, universal standard, by making all your systems speak the same language, your credit union’s architecture can become seamless, smooth and easy to manage, lifting an enormous burden.

Single-standard integration improves your relationships with vendors. Using the same API standard for all your systems makes it easier and faster for them add new features and functionality down the line and drives down the non-valued added costs that currently exists in every single Credit Union application across the industry.

CUNA Technology Council is addressing this with the Credit Union Financial Exchange (CUFX), a free, open-source integration standard created through the collaborative efforts of vendors and credit unions. Adopting our solution will make “one-plug” integration the norm in the credit union movement rather than the exception.

Integration can be a taxing struggle, or it can be as easy as plugging in a toaster. Which would you prefer?

To learn more about CUFX, how to use it and how to contribute to the initiative, please visit cufxstandards.com.

Mike Atkins

Mike Atkins

Mike Atkins is the chief information officer of Bellco Credit Union and chair of the CUNA Technology Council Executive Committee. Web: www.bellco.org Details

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